Sunday, 18 March 2012

5 reasons why you should watch Commando immediately

1. Commando teaches you to be a better parent 

Thanks to a tender montage of father-daughter moments, we learn that John Matrix the Commando isn’t just living in the woods with a shedload of guns. He’s also a doting dad to young Jenny. I don't have a daughter, but if you do, I'd slap the little idiot for crushing icecream in my face. To my surprise, that's not how John Matrix reacts. John Matrix reacts like a laughing imbecile.

And if your daughter brought a wild deer into my garden, I'd feed her hormones until she had nuts then kick her in the nuts. But loveable Mister Matrix just joins in the petting frenzy, albeit with such shiny-eyed fervour it becomes apparent that he could be utterly mental. Is there really a deer there at all?

When Jenny creeps up on Matrix while he’s chopping wood it looks like he’s finally going to snap and axe her head off. And who could blame him. Only a moron tiptoes up behind a paranoid special forces burn-out while he’s swinging an axe. He’s probably having flashbacks to that time he killed an entire African village with an axe. He spies Jenny’s blurry reflection in the blade. His eyes narrow. His jaw clenches. His piles deflate. His testes soar like eagles. He spins round – and hugs her. A wild-eyed, crazy-tight hug. This guy is cycling through delusions. Maybe he's going to let her go, maybe he's going to pop her brains out with his massive arm. We just don't know.

The day Jenny was taken, as seen by John Matrix.

The day Jenny was taken, as seen by child protection officers.

Ok, so forget that, Commando does not teach you how to be a better parent.

2. Sully teaches you how to win with the ladies 

Sully knows women (in theory).
Being a short-arsed evil henchman is just Sully’s day job. The main thing on Sully’s mind is chatting up hotties. Or, more accurately, annoying hotties. Sully demonstrates such appalling seduction techniques I can only imagine bigger boys told him the four steps to a woman's heart were ogle, leer, follow and insult. Sully is five feet nothing of sheer sexual terror (five foot four when aroused). If Sully were a beverage, he would be one part Campari and nine parts Rohypnol, shaken and poured over your stolen pants. 

Furious Virgin with a twist of lime.
He’s also damned persistent. When Sully locks on to your booty, pretty much the only way to avoid getting rutted in every hole is a fast car or a complete set of orifice corks. 

"I heard you were coming, Sully. As you can see, I've protected myself."
"Do you have a Ferrari?"
"Then prepare for a sore throat. And earache. And blindness."

Sully meets Matrix's ladyfriend and says “I’ve got something I really want to give you.” She runs away. Sully is confused. Didn’t he make it clear his gift was going to be penile in character? He digs deep to win her back: 

To Sully's dismay this isn't the foolproof clincher he thought it was, and she drives away. Poor old Sully. Turns out all the bigger boys think it's funny to trick him:

“That's right, Matrix! You did!”

One Furious Virgin, on the rocks.

Sully is only the lothario of your wildest dreams if you're an inveterate bedwetter. His advice on women should, in retrospect, be ignored.

3. Macho macho villains

Tired of flabby dorks trying to take over the world? Want your action hero's nemesis to be one ripped hombre who'll give Matrix a run for his money in a climactic punch-up? Well say hello to  

Do you know what today is Matrix?...Payday!”
Well, it certainly rhymes with payday.
Quite frankly, Bennett isn't a convincing adversary. Not by a long shot. Dressed in a black t-shirt and chainmail, Bennett's leather club look isn't fooling anyone. Dog tags and a handlebar moustache can't distract from poor muscle tone and a comfortable paunch. Bennett would be no match for Matrix if he wasn't holding a gun to Jenny's head. At least he has that advantage.

"I don't need the gun!" Oh god, yes you do.
"I don't need the girl!" Damn it Bennett.
Bennett's slightly more threatening once he's a corpse penetrated by a steam pipe, as he represents a scalding hazard.

4. The carnival atmosphere 

The steel drum score to Commando is so brain-meltingly powerful that when it was played on a British Airways flight on 24 June 1988, every single passenger slipped from their seats on take-off, hung from the landing gear, dropped to the ground, ran to the car park, kidnapped a lady, pushed a man off a cliff, stole many guns, flew to an island, killed everyone on it and stuck a pipe through a closeted Australian. In the aftermath five complaints were made and Commando was subsequently banned from all British Airways flights, except the one going over Richard Branson's island. 

BA's 'Operation Branson Pickle' continues to this day.

5. John Matrix

And by Matrix, I mean Arnold. He is eighty-four basket balls squeezed into a wood-stained sock and flambeed with charisma. He is a bullet-shooting muscle. He is completely, 100 per cent hand-made by himself. No one gave birth to that accent. It was wrung from the last scholar in the Tower of Babel by baby Arnold's massive hands. And he is perfect. As such, his very existence is a rejection of the natural order of things. His portrayal of John Matrix is 90 minutes of spit directed squarely into God's eye.  

And missiles.
John Matrix could show God just what happens to the immoveable object when it's met by an unstoppable force: it gets blown up and probably impaled. Luckily that fate won't befall God since he has the power of the Holy Trinity. At least He has that advantage.

"I don't need the Holy Ghost!" Oh God, yes you do.
"I don't need the Son!" Ffs.
Of course, it's likely that everything in the film only happened in John Matrix's head. Everything except the bit where he sliced off somebody's scalp with a rotary saw blade. That bit happened, only not to a mercenary goon. There were no goons. There was just Jenny. And now he'll never cut her hair again.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

4 reasons why you should watch Robocop immediately

1. Corporate Greed.

Robocop took the corporate workplace and injected it with turbo-charged arsehole. And audiences loved it. Its vision of white-collar bastards left cinemas swooning. When the credits rolled, viewers binned their hippy ideals and sold their own mothers to the glue factory. It's why your parents cry buying Pritt Stick and you don't have a granny.

This man made them do it.
Dick Jones, pictured, is Senior Vice President of Omni Consumer Products. Contrary to popular opinion, he would piss on you if you were set on fire, but only after he'd dressed you in a global hypercolour t-shirt and set you on fire.

What we learn:

Don't work at OCP, even if they offer you the executive bathroom. Especially if they offer you the executive bathroom. If you say anything out of place in OCP's executive bathroom you can expect a house call from a man determined to ruin your prostitute party. 

I'm here about your knees.
2. Acid bath.

"You fancy mutants!" A cruel jibe, but true. Ugly doesn't do it for you. You need mutant. But they're so hard to find! Stop whining. Simply hollow out your bible and keep a video of Robocop inside. Now you're only ever 78 minutes away from a punk getting dunked in toxic waste and burst by a car.

"Maybe it's Maybelline"
What we learn:

Why your Boglin wears lipstick.

3. Wine-tasting

It's your first glass of your home-made wine. You swill the wine around the glass. You sniff the wine. You slurp the wine under your moustache. It's a very fine wine. But something's missing. What is it?

Suddenly, psychotic baldy Clarence Boddicker barges into your heavily-fortified cocaine warehouse. He jams his fingers into your glass of wine. You are affronted. But something twitches in your nose. On a hunch, you taste the wine again.

Jesus - it's amazing! It's like swimming in the eyes of Athena, like running through the halls of Valhalla! You’re trembling inside. Little does Clarence know you're going to convince him to quit the drugs game and open a vineyard! It's time for "Le Droit de Clarence"! It's time for-

- crap.
What we learn:
Keep Robocop out of important meetings.

4. Peter Weller.

Weller's never topped his potrayal as silver fox Robocop. Following his extraordinary documentary Screamers, which recorded his fight against intelligent robot saws disguised as household objects, Weller welded himself inside some tubes of sheet metal. He now lies propped against a dry-stone wall, waiting to smash through it should he once more be called upon to serve the public trust, uphold the law, protect the innocent, or carry out his classified fourth objective.
[infiltrate German parties]
What we learn: 

Sleep safely. Peter Weller is watching over you in his metal tube suit.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

6 Reasons Why You Should Watch Wall Street Immediately

 1. Michael Douglas redirects the twitching intensity of his full-blown sex addiction from his groin to his face. It's an ability which has assisted him throughout his life, not just in his virile potrayal of Wall Street titan Gordon Gekko.

"It's incredible. He's boned the cancer into remission."

2. Instead of spending the evening beating a hooker like she was a coke-filled pinada, Charlie Sheen calmly watches the Changing Rooms crew use brick-effect wallpaper to ruin his apartment. Then, instead of locking them all in a cupboard and building a new world around mescaline and syphilis, as Bud Fox he assembles delicate vol-au-vonts with a lady and makes sweet love to her by candlelight. At the end of the night, finding himself on a balcony instead of rehab, he whispers, "Who am I?". This moment's not scripted. We're witnessing the existential breakdown of a man who's lost himself to the role. After the scene Sheen was hospitalised.

"Jesus he's in a bad way. Get me 2000cc's of Jack Daniels and a custody battle."

3. Michael Douglas races a dune buggy. Sure he's laughing on the outside, but you can tell he's frightened. He has the wild-eyed look of a charity skydiver. Even his mullet is nervous.

"Michael I'm scared." 
"Me too, little buddy, but don't scream - don't give them the satisfaction."
"Or let them know I'm sentient."
"Or that."

4. Terence Stamp's  performance as icy-cool corporate raider Sir Larry Wildman is so aristocratic, Englishmen can't help but jerk to attention and shoot a Zulu whenever he appears onscreen.

"I could break you, mate, in two pieces over my knees. I know it, you know it. I could buy you six times over. Here's fine thanks, just pull over on the left."

5. Michael Douglas's morning stroll along his beach, on the phone to Charlie Sheen, is the best advert for greed since the prodigal son.  The icy dawn sky is Gekko's alone, the empty sea crashes at his feet, and Buddy's silent desire washes down the line in palpable waves. For Gekko, being rich is never better than when the other guy isn't. And boy, do you want to be him.

"I wish you could see this...I'm holding it with one hand."

6. Great melodramatic lifestyle thrillers come along once every aeon, when a Talking Heads soundtrack aligns perfectly with the flare of Sheen's nostrils and the volume of Daryl Hannah's hair. It's a crucial formula. In Wall Street 2, substituting one value with a birthday party and the other with Shia Lebeouf playing a grown-up caused the whole noble enterprise to collapse into irrelevance. Thankfully, we will always have Wall Street 1, a touchstone for the 1980s. Whenever we want, we can see the world through Gordon Gekko's eyes; a world of braces, Brylcream and comfortable linen casualwear.

The world through Charlie Sheen's eyes.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Review: Centurion (suitable for ages 3+)

As all parents know, there are few things children enjoy more than watching people from the middle ages chop each other up. "More blood, more mud, more pilgrims!" is the familiar cry of tots up and down the land, as they ride terrified Alsatians from room to room and swallow lego brick likenesses of your soul.

"I made Daddy - he's empty inside."

Alas, despite much tinkering by mums and dads, no one has yet invented a time machine to placate the tubby little need-bags. But weep not. An alternative has presented itself. Put down that wrench, discard those flux capacitators and hide that syringe of mercury, because a new genre of action film is in town: the peasant-thriller. Tobias won't have to risk being disassembled in a modified washing machine and re-assembled nine hundred years ago wearing his guts as a hat just yet. Instead, simply lower his medicated body in front of the telly, set up a trough of his favourite brand of chocogruel, and let Sean Bean do the heavy lifting.

Yes, the peasant-thriller is here. It's hot, it's fresh, and it will definitely follow in the abortive footsteps of the last action film niche, the eco-thriller, which was both pioneered and pummelled into oblivion by barrel-bellied, high-waisted, doughy-faced funnyman Steven Seagal. heavy...must play on.

Why is it here? Nobody knows. Maybe it's the recession. The peasant-thriller is pretty cheap to make.  All you'll need are twenty swords, an axe, a spear, ten men in chainmail, ten more in sackcloth, a bag of warts, fifty fluid tonnes of mud and someone who was in The Lord Of The Rings or someone cheaper who looks like someone who was in The Lord Of The Rings. Shake them all together and voila, you have produced Centurion/Season of the Witch/The Last Legion/Solomon Kane/Black Death/Valhalla Rising

A close reading of Neil Marshall's last film, Doomsday, and Centurion is an illuminating exercise:
  • Doomsday: soldiers have to run towards and then away from Scottish people, and Malcolm McDowell. 
  • Centurion: soldiers have to run towards and then away from Scottish people, in Roman times. 
We can clearly see that in Centurion, Malcolm McDowell has been replaced with a Roman setting.  This is probably because they cost the same, and a reasonably budgeted production can't stretch to both.

"A period setting costs HOW much? Well I want the same. I know it doesn't make sense! I'm high. High as a kite. And I'm angry.

The lack of Malcolm McDowell is overcome by an entertaining plot that links each chop to the next with talking, running and hiding. The whole thing is proper Tales of Adventure territory, packed full of tricks and military tactics, such as smothering a small boy. If you like the sound of a close-knit band of warriors deep behind enemy lines, forced on the run by mercenary, intelligent natives, you should visit Nottingham, or see this film.

There is also an enjoyable female warrior.  Most action women are either dressed-up crotch fodder for the hero or an unhappy collection of tough pretensions and lame put-downs. But this one is mute and loveless. Ideal. In fact, there's a strong argument for making the peasant-thriller entirely dialogue-free, because nothing really needs verbalising - it's grim, you're covered in mud, look out, that chap's trying to chop your head off.

So, in lieu of a time machine, try sating your child’s unflagging bloodlust with Centurion. If that fails, there's really nothing more to be done. Run the malevolent critter through with a pike, raise up its corpse, and peg it out in a rough approximation of a Roman soldier's tent. You'll have more free time and a great story to tell your fellow campers.
Graham Willis, 9 and a half, sleeps 6.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New! Free Horoscopes with Dr Emma


I'm Emma Glynd and I'm excited to tell you I'll be divining your horoscopes here at roomwithaloo.  But first, a little about me! 

When did I first realise I had the gift of extrasensory perception? I didn't! It was my mother, who was amazed when, as a young girl, I felt a strong "knowing" that my cat at the time, Roger, would go missing. 

I have always enjoyed helping people, and so naturally when I became aware of my special abilities I knew I would use them to empower my nurturing instincts. I therefore opened a psychic practice in Brighton called Foresighted. It continues to guide its many clients through life's sometimes choppy waters, removing the clouds that, for many of you, occlude (cover up) the futuretime (time which has not yet come to pass). If you're in the area, do pop in for a detailed personal reading. 

How have I become a respected psychic and a doctor of astrological science? I've had to prove my abilities in a laboratory, and I've also studied the planets' movements and their effects on our spiritselves for many years, in detail. These skills now enable me to share with you your future, identifying opportunities yet to arise and, just as importantly in these difficult times, letting you know about problems which may be waiting around the corner so you can prepare yourself and your loved ones.

Of course it's true that non-personal readings can't be as specific as personal sessions, but nonetheless I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how accurate my horoscopes are!


Dr Emma


It is a time of great change, but try not to leave old friends behind as you forge ahead with an exciting opportunity. They are trustworthy and their counsel will be valuable.    


You have poured your heart into organising the office party and it won't go without reward. The music you picked will get everybody bopping! A flood of emails are bound to follow, all attesting that it was the best party they've been to this year. Try to make the most of your good fortune by wearing antiperspirant, because you sweat when you're complimented. 


Your arms will be sheared off in a car crash. 


Mars spins backwards tonight, which means you must be thrifty with expenditure on household items, especially toothpaste. Ensure everyone who uses it squeezes out only a pea's worth, so that the paste covers no more than a quarter of the bristles (confiscate any unusually large-headed toothbrushes). Limit the height of the dab of paste to 5mm, taking care that no extra paste has been squished down between the bristles. If it has, take your measurement from the lowest point of the paste. Punish transgressors by washing off the paste into the sink (having inserted the plug), and returning it to the tube. Require the offender to brush their teeth using just the residue of toothpaste (if any) left on the washed bristles. 


It's a good time to redecorate this week, now that your home zone stars are in the ascendancy. 


A walk through the park on Sunday will be spoiled by a shooting.  


The sun and Mercury sit side by side this week, which means your temperature zone is untrustworthy. Although you already feel warm, you are actually quite cold. Buy at least four thick jumpers and wear them all at the same time from now on. When you begin to feel faint, have a sip of water.


The family dinner will pass without incident until Gran asks why your children have not eaten the rind of their ham, which will cause tension. Your eldest will try to swallow it down, but your youngest will refuse. Your husband will tell off Gran and remark that the children, unlike your own generation, are not war babies. She will fall silent, refuse pudding and insist on driving herself home, but not before remarking that Eve from the bridge club says her son, a colleague of your husband, has been promoted, whereas it appears your husband has not. Your husband will interject that Gran must be careful not to lose control of her car, or pass away in the night.


With Venus in retrograde, old flames will be rekindled. Fend off your uncle with whatever you can find. 


The vegetables are out of control and need to be picked. Give them to your loud neighbour as a peace offering. Mention that you can hear him running his bath late at night, every night, and it is preventing you from sleeping. Keep bringing him vegetables every day until he stops running his baths. Make sure you provide a variety, and point out the different types. If he stops answering the door, throw them over the fence, and slip a note in his letterbox explaining that you tried to ring.


The shadow of Venus is falling across the third quarter of Saturn this month, so you will develop a permanent limp in both legs within the hour, leading to a highly noticeable degree of side-to-side swinging as you walk. This will result in bruising to the sides of your head whenever you attempt to negotiate narrow alleyways.  Also, children will start calling you The Pendulum.


You've been searching for someone who brings grated cheese on a first date. If you change your route home so you cross the canal bridge, your dream man will be inhaling from a plastic bag in the shadowy gloom below. Bring a Pritt Stick and don't agree that you remind him of Elise.

Friday, 8 October 2010

At last! A cure for the common cold that really works!

A great way to deal with a crisis is to be slightly ill when it happens. Then you couldn't give a damn if you just die. While everyone else gets on their heads and spins round in a panic, you sit, and watch, rheumy-eyed and unimpressed. The screams are muffled. The implications of the broken jar of Ebola and imminent nuclear strike fail to penetrate your cotton-wool brain. "Do I care that I'm bankrupt, my house has burnt down and I've accidentally uploaded footage of myself treating a carpet of hamsters like bubble wrap? Yes, but only because now I don't have a couch and all I want to do is lie down. I've got a completely blocked nose."

For its duration, illness makes you aware of your body. You only know you have a throat when every gulp is blocked by a boiling pebble. Eyes. I didn't know I had eyes until they started bulging out of their holes and watering constantly. And drugs are a paltry treatment. Are they really the best we can do? Even our tiny-brained, brow-heavy forebears ate stuff to make themselves feel better. Witch Hazel, that sounds about right. And bear nuts, two an hour, no more than 10 in a 12 hour period.  But we're ages later than them. We're advanced. And we're still just swallowing stuff to make ourselves feel better? Rubbish. I want the young and foolish, now, to offer me their throat and eyes. Their healthy, young throat and eyes. We will simply exchange them until mine are well again. Then we will swap them back. All for a very reasonable fee, enough, say, for them to buy some paracetamol, with a little extra on top for a Hotwheels or a Bratz.

And think of those under-worked, struck-off surgeons, desperate for a little bit of pro rata slicing to keep them in bibs and wetwipes. Well now they have a chance. You simply locate and buzz the nearest donor on your FrankenMine App, go to the Medibooth on the corner and voila, one general anesthetic later you have a brilliant, healthy new hand, leaving a pecuniarily-enhanced needy person with a sprained wrist to work off. It's only for passing illnesses, though, like a common cold. You can't take a child's heart for keeps, just because yours is a pressed leaf in two litres of stiff chip fat. We're not dropping death bombs into the open wounds of the poor here. It's ethical, this, it's not black market.

Of course we'd all end up looking like big Mary Shelley fans, and have to undergo what in reality would be major operations for minor, temporary ailments, but do I care? No. I have a slight cough.

For you!

For me!
For us!
For you.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The House that Ben Built, and the Other Houses he Built, forming a Town, called The Town (a review of The Town)

Ben Affleck
If Oscar Wilde were alive today, he would be very, very old. And if he were young, he'd probably be lassoing twinks with one hand and tweeting delicious bon mots with the other.

But if he wasn't doing that, he might throw together a reimagining of The Picture of Dorian Gray, called The Moving Pictures of Benjamin Affleck. In it, Benjamin Affleck is an affable, self-deprecating interviewee and a man who generally conducts himself in a thoroughly likeable manner both professionally and personally.

Ben Affleck
But, Oscar would write, he has a terrible secret. For in his movies, the dark parts of Benjamin Affleck's soul are exposed to all those who dare gaze upon them. Despite being a pleasant chap in real life, on film he appears incredibly smug and huge-faced. As time passes, so these distortions grow. Each successive attempt to play a hero is met with more and more audience members screaming in fury at his huge, smug face. It grows larger and smugger with every release. Soon crowds are scrambling to pluck out their own eyes to lob at the screen, right in the chin dimple of his smug, huge face. Until one day the rotten head wobbles away so hugely, so smugly, that cinema-goers poo out their skeletons during the opening scene. In a rage, Benjamin vaults the jellied corpses of his audience and chins his image, ripping through it. The police arrive. For the first time a bearable, modest Benjamin acts away on screen. But on the auditorium floor lies his corpse, sporting a grossly distended head and a smug, huge grin. The cops vom in horror.

Ben Affl├ęck
It was with this expectation that I sat down for The Town. Opening credits. Fade up. Here he is. Oh goodness. So huge-faced, so - but what's this? I waited for the hatred to flood my system but, like meeting my real parents, to my surprise I felt nothing. No desire to break all my bones in under one minute to ease their passage through my rectum. I put down the ball-peen hammer. Yes, the face was still pretty massive and seemed to wobble away just above the audience in some kind of unauthorized 3D and yes, Ben Affleck appeared to throb with the effort of acting humble. But he pulls it off. He has to play the most miserable man in Borwahston to achieve it, but he pulls it off.

I haven't seen Gone Baby Gone, but The Town is better because it has fewer missing kids and more rubber nun masks. The plot? It's one last job complicated by old loyalties and a loose cannon. It's Heat-lite. Where Heat has a narrative that draws you deep into the lives of both the cops and the robbers, this is a breezier, simpler story, and one that whole-heartedly follows the crims.

It's shot and acted solidly and rips along to a satisfying denouement in which (spoiler alert) the gang nick the score to Heat's climactic bank heist. And a bit from another film. Which you'll spot. Unless you don't. In which case, steal and then watch the movies from which the stills of Ben Affleck in this post are pulled. For one of them holds the answer. If you're caught, simply explain that whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives. That's what Oscar said and he only got 4 years, for sodomy.
Ben Affleck